While the opposition remains deeply divided in the context of the continued sniping between extremists in the Liberal Party and the Makabayan bloc over the non-inclusion of Neri Colmenares in Vice President Leni Robredo’s senatorial slate among other issues, it appears that pro-administration forces are close to having a unified ticket.
If you are to believe the respective camps of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, it was just a matter of coincidence that they both happened to be in Cebu last Saturday, October 23. But of course, “there are no coincidences in politics.”
Marcos and Duterte-Carpio then went on to have a one-on-one meeting that lasted for hours that certainly centered on their plans for 2022. Less than 24 hours after the two met, the presidential daughter mentioned that her party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) is considering supporting Marcos’ campaign. Considering that the Dutertes and Marcoses have essentially the same supporters, it is in their best interest to join forces. But how is this still possible?
With still three weeks to go before the Commission on Election’s deadline for substitution of candidates by political parties, Duterte-Carpio can still run for president or vice president despite her repeated denial of interest.
Keep in mind the following to understand how the dominoes might fall:
1) Marcos is running under the newly-created Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP) without a running-mate.
2) HNP, which was formed ahead of the 2019 midterm elections, did not field a presidential and vice presidential candidate for 2022.
3) The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) is being led by the tandem of Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and running-mate Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
4) The former ruling party Lakas–CMD (Lakas–Christian Muslim Democrats) led by ex President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has fielded a certain Anna Capella Velasco as its presidential candidate with Lyle Fernando Uy as running-mate, who have been essentially described as placeholders by party official Prospero Pichay
Given everything that he has already invested for his presidential bid, it is unlikely for Marcos to stand aside for the younger Duterte. However, the Davao City mayor can still end up as a vice presidential candidate by replacing either Go in the PDP-Laban ticket or Uy in the Lakas-CMD ticket. It is easy to see Dela Rosa and Go withdraw their respective candidacies if President Rodrigo Duterte tells them to do so.
Velasco’s presence in the presidential race is so negligible that nothing will change although she will probably withdraw if Duterte-Carpio chooses to use Lakas-CMD as her party. And just like that, there would be a Marcos-Duterte tandem – a team-up that will definitely be the runaway frontrunner for 2022.